Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's continue to review what we experienced

It's time to review the people and notable events of 2008.

Just not here.

We leave that to every other stitch of media on the earth.

Hanging by this thread: Bristol Palin

Congratulations, Bristol Palin, on the birth of your son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. Baby Tripp weighed in at seven pounds, four ounces -- mother and son are doing fine.

And now that baby is here, there's no reason to hear about you ever again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Holidays are a time to get serious about winning an Oscar

Australia, Changeling, Che, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Seven Pounds, Slumdog Millionaire, Valkyrie -- good luck, everybody.

Yet another reason to get the holidays over with: Move out the glut of Hollywood syrup jockeying for an Oscar.

If it's been on television, it must be terrific!

TIMMY: Mother, may I purchase this Vidalia Chop Wizard?

MOTHER: I should say not. Why, it's made from shoddy materials and can't come close to delivering on its multitude of promises.

TIMMY: I disagree. The Vidalia Chop Wizard is a better way to chop vegetables, fruit, cheese and more -- As Seen On TV!

MOTHER: As Seen On TV? Well then, it must be good. We'll take two.

TIMMY (winks): Thanks, television!

Monday, December 29, 2008

That's Jared!

The proliferation of Jared, a stand-alone jewelry store had us scratching our heads three years ago when it was gobbling up locations all over the place.

Then came the radio spots. Now we won't turn on a radio for fear of hearing one of them.

The only hope is that the economy will take this monolith out, thereby reducing its presence on the airwaves, making room for jewelers that have an ad campaign to be proud of.

Thanks a latte

We promise to leave an extra dollar if baristas promise to remove the following witticisms from their tip jars:

Change is good
Karma jar
Support counter intelligence
Tipping is sexy
Employee pension plan
Tipping is not a city in China

Friday, December 26, 2008

The best credit reports in life are free

Forget the mall bargains today. Why save 60% to 70% when you can get a FREE credit report?

To hear the ubiquitous ads, you'd think knowing your credit score was the only thing standing between you and an amazing job, fantastic car, and beautiful spouse.

Reality: Your credit score is WHY you don't have an amazing job, fantastic car, or beautiful spouse.

By the way, that "free" credit report costs you $14.95 a month if you don't cancel your "free" membership during the 7-day "trial" period.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Most popular toy this Christmas?

That would be the venerable Baby Alive, back again with a new potty edition.

"Sniff sniff," says Baby Alive after she does her business.  "I made a stinky."

Hello, Catchphrase 2009.

Vatican Christmas message: Oh that, we picked it up on sale.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, in front of a jeweled gold throne and adorned in all the gold his body could safely support, Pope Benedict XVI warned against selfishness in his Christmas message, saying it could lead to additional suffering during the global economic crisis.

This is our only response.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Anybody know? Did Troy beat Southern Miss in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl?

There are now 34 bowl games and 68 teams compete in them.  That means 57% of Division 1-A teams "earned" a bowl bid this year.  

In the era of "every pee-wee soccer player gets a trophy," it should be no surprise that nine 6-6 teams will be bowling this holiday season.  Juice boxes for everyone!

Now get ready for Hawaii vs. a scrappy Notre Dame squad tonight.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Enough with the fun

Corporate fun is some of the most depressing stuff around.

Some of the worst offenders: Coldstone Creamery, where the miserable staff breaks into mandatory song every time a customer is foolish enough to leave a tip. That's right -- a disincentive to reward the help.

Southwest Airlines, where flight attendants crack wise about missed connections, bumpy landings, and drunken pilots. Hilarious!

And TGIF, where every birthday is an occasion for public humiliation:

Note (a) the mortification of the "honoree", (b) the fleeing of the staff once their forced frivolity is finished, and (c) the waitress who counsels the customer with "Show some emotion, I know it sucks."

Wow - This email was sent from an iPhone

"Sent from J$$$ R$$$$'$ iPhone".

Yeah, yeah. You've got an iPhone. It sends emails. We know. Pretty sure we'll never forget it either.

Ashton, you pixie!

What's to like best about the Nikon CoolPix S60?

Could it be the cranberry-aluminim finish that screams "fine photography"?

The ability to zoom in on bald heads with the touch of a finger?

Or the way Ashton Kutcher minces around dinner parties, torturing every sad sack divorcee in the joint?

We miss the Fotomat.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not enough fingers in Minnesota?

If Minnesota wants to take their sweet time on the Coleman/Franken recount, that's fine.

But do we have to hear about it every time one of them supposedly goes ahead?

One gets the sense that they might just be delaying the inevitable: that either Norm Coleman or Al Franken is going to be their Senator.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Huts, shacks and barns

Did you ever wonder ...

Who decided women should purchase high fashion in a barn?

Electronics in a shack?

Or pizza in a hut?

Good night.  Tip your waitress.

Friday, December 19, 2008

So are the Four Cheese Kettle Cooked chips methadone for this stuff?

Frito Lay's Munchies "Cheese Fix" snack gives the world just what it needs, which is all the cheese it can get in one bag.

And it's good for Frito Lay too, the base for all the cheese being a combination of four other products, (Cheetos, Doritos, Rold Gold Pretzels, and Sun Chips).
This stuff is made on the same principle as sausage. Hey, cheese sausage!

Bad Movie the Musical

Add Shrek to the list of Hollywood properties clumsily adapted for the stage -- a hedge bet for producers looking for built-in audiences.

Shrek joins an inglorious list of critcally panned shows that includes Young Frankenstein, Legally Blonde, The Wedding Singer, Footloose and Sister Act.

There is one thing worse than Bad Movie the Musical, of course -- that being Bad Movie on Ice. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not impressed

Five reasons we don't like impressionists:

1.  They all do the same impressions.  Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood.  If you don't believe it, search "impressionist" on YouTube.

2.  They do impressions of other people's impressions. Once Kevin Spacey did Christopher Walken on SNL, all impressionists began doing it -- not Walken, but Spacey doing Walken.  A copy of a copy of a copy ...

3. They have no personalities or talents of their own.  That's why they have to borrow other people's.

4. They think they have personalities and talents of their own.  They'll often conclude a set with a "serious" song -- performed in their own voice -- about the pain of hiding behind a comic mask.

5.  They are unemployable.  Except in Vegas.

Please be home, the bankruptcy will be sometime between 1/1/09 and 12/31/09

Moody's recently downgraded Charter communications again and reported that bankruptcy is imminent for 2009. They stress there will likely be no disruption in service, as the move is expected to be a reorganizing - but Moody's obviously has never had Charter as an Internet or cable provider.

For those not familiar, here are the areas in the U.S. that Charter has infected with high prices, poor customer service and terrible products:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Riddler would like his jacket back

Matthew Lesko promises to help you open a coffee shop -- WITH FREE GOVERNMENT MONEY!

But we're suspicous of anyone who promises cash and then asks us to 

"Please Have your Credit Card Or Blank Check Ready And Call Toll Free."  

Apparently, free money isn't as free as it used to be.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vanity ferret

We now turn our attention to weird street people and ferrets.

These weasels-on-a-leash are more than ready to leap at your gyro -- but then again, their owners look like they might have a go as well.

Did we mention they smell? (The ferrets, of course.)

So, yes, Ferret Man -- you're an edgy animal owner unbeholden to societal pet norms. Thus noted, can you put that thing back in its cage and leave it there?

When you just can't be without a pickle

Single serving pickles are messy, smell bad, and let's face it, they look sickening.

We feel for convenience store workers that have to stare at them all day long.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Can we just go to the bathroom?

Ads hanging six inches from where you go to the bathroom aren't new. No, they've been around for a long time and sadly, aren't improving quality-wise at all.

They continue to appear to have been put together by Cub Scouts trying to earn a merit badge in adverstising.

The Great Manscape

Manscaping -- the shaving, waxing, or otherwise sculpting of one's male body hair -- is a relatively new pastime.  

While most frequently practiced by bros, even regular joes seem to be taking an interest in pubic deforestation.

If you're considering taking up manscaping, just watch the following and pay special attention to the observation,"My nipples are bleeding."

Friday, December 12, 2008

... He won, right?

Despite Barack Obama winning last month's election, the folks at and are still offering a variety of Obamawear in exchange for ... campaign donations? Contributions to the puppy fund? An Illinois Senate seat?

We always thought a branded polar fleece was something you got when you subscribed to ESPN The Magazine.

Move on, indeed.

This one is going to take a second to explain...

Ok, Jennifer Aniston is on the cover of GQ wearing only a tie. That's fine. That's more than fine, but is it really a big deal?

When's the last time GQ or Vanity Fair didn't pull this stunt?

The frequency of it pretty much establishes that consumers won't buy either magazine without a saucy cover and the promise of more titillating material inside.

At least Maxim has no literary pretensions.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There's nothing funny about a hand up your ass

You'd think Jeff Dunham would be a guy ousted in a preliminary round of "America's Got Talent." 

Instead, he's got his own Comedy Central specials and three of the top 30 comedy albums on iTunes.

Inexplicable.  Who's the dummy here?

The reality of the situation is as follows:

"It is what it is."

Yeah, it's a handy phrase but it's also a great excuse, rationalization and catch-all status-quo enforcing helpless plea that absolves responsibility. Shouldn't surprise anyone that we have post-game interviews with athletes on the losing side of a contest to thank for it, either.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The ghost of Christmas special

Christmas episodes of any television show are a writer's gimme -- simply take Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," insert Fred Flintstone (or other grumpy sitcom star) in for Scrooge, then take the rest of the week off.

The Christmas Special -- the differently abled cousin of the Christmas episode -- gives networks the chance to fulfill contractual obligations to any celebrities it has hanging out on the lot -- say, The Carpenters, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, Harvey Korman, and Kristy McNichol.

Next year wah wah wah

We understand that things are currently not very good.

However, we question the wisdom of repeating over and over that next year is going to be bad or even worse - especially because we're not even there yet.

Yeah, there's data to suggest it might happen but isn't there something to the idea that these forecasts also could be proven wrong? We'd like to think that there is some degree of self-determinism left in life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Do you think we could fit "Pet of the Week"?

Say this about local television web pages -- they somehow manage to squeeze more into 1280 x 800 than most designers would ever dream possible.

Check out this example from WEEK-TV in Peoria, IL. On one screen (pre-scroll), we get:

* Current Peoria weather conditions
* The smiling faces of the WEEK Home Team
* Horizontal nav bars with twenty (!) options for news you can use
* A reminder to contact your doctor
* A big drop of blood, reminding you it's time to give
* Some actual news
* The YouNews! Holiday Contest
* Peoria's finest wine expert
* A place to snag your holiday tree
* A reminder to upgrade your Peoria lifestyle
* An ad for American Express
* Employment want ads
* Health news (the kind, of course, you can use)

And all this, mind you, before you endlessly scroll down the page. Revenues for TV news are on the slide, but it looks like the boys in sales are making up some ground.

Strategy comes from downtown

Billy Joel- "Uptown Girl"

Monday, December 8, 2008

You know what, we'll bum him one

In his final act of being a warm body at the helm of Meet The Press following Tim Russert's death, Tom Brokaw grilled President-elect Barack Obama on his inability to completely quit smoking.

Great line of questioning Tom, really incisive journalism that gets right to the heart of what the nation should be concerned about as Obama takes office.

Given the scope and magnitude of the messes he's inheriting, we think the guy ought to be allowed a couple burns a day, at least until things start looking up.

And here's to new host David Gregory passing a stress test.

And a celebrity will lead us

Now that Hilary Clinton won't be available for her New York senatorial duties, The Nanny has decided she's the gal for the job.

This would be laughable if Sonny Bono, Gopher from The Love Boat, Arnold Schwarzenagger, Jerry Springer, and Jesse Ventura hadn't paved the way.

How about a spot on city council or the school board before taking on something like U.S. Senator, celebs? And no, Al Franken, being on Air America doesn't count.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lester on the hour

The fact that Lester Munson has a job as a legal analyst on ESPN isn't his fault but isn't it a little ridiculous that a sports network actually has a need for such a position?

That's all for now, we have to flip on SportsCenter and find out what's going with Plaxico Burress and those two Williams guys from Minnesota.

Heads will rickroll

We were amused enough at the Rickrolling phenomenon. Frankly, most local newscasts and Scientology demonstrations could use a little diversionary entertainment.

And Rick's befuddlement at the whole deal is endearing.

But the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took Rickrolling to a whole new level -- that "please stop now, it's no longer funny" level.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Movie quotes we don't need to hear anymore.

"Revenge is a dish best served cold." -Khan, Star Trek II

The Rivers Edge

Unlike other "Hanging by This Thread" candidates, Melissa Rivers celebrity status has been in question since the start of her "career."

Surgically attached to the side of her more famous (and more talented) mother, Melissa makes a living ridiculing what people wear to awards shows. (And she's been fired from that gig twice.)

Melissa (sutured to Joan, of course) will be a contestant on next season's Celebrity Apprentice. And with people like Melissa on the show, it's no wonder fellow Trump-ette Tony Danza feels like a real star.